Russian robot heads to space!
A Russian robot will help astronauts in space. Russia launched an unmanned rocket carrying a life-size humanoid robot that will spend 10 days learning to assist astronauts on the International Space Station.
Named Fedor, short for Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research, the robot is the first ever sent up by Russia.
Fedor blasted off in a Soyuz MS-14 spacecraft at 6:38 am Moscow time (0338 GMT) from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The Soyuz will stay at the space station till September 7.
Soyuz ships are normally manned on such trips, but in this new experiment, humans are travelling in order to test a new emergency rescue system.
Instead of cosmonauts, Fedor, also known as Skybot F850, was strapped to a specially adapted pilot’s seat, with a small Russian flag in hand.
Fedor has Instagram and Twitter accounts with posts saying it is learning new skills such as opening a bottle of water. In the station, it will trial those manual skills in very low gravity.
Fedor copies human movements, a key skill that allows it to remotely help astronauts or even people on Earth to carry out simple tasks.
Fedor-like robots will be used in Russia’s Moon programme also.
Fedor is not the first robot to go into space. In 2011, NASA sent up Robonaut 2, a humanoid robot developed with General Motors that had a similar aim of working in high-risk environments.
It was flown back to Earth in 2018 after experiencing technical problems.
In 2013, Japan sent up a small robot called Kirobo along with the ISS’s first Japanese space commander. Developed with Toyota, it was able to hold conversations — though only in Japanese.
An international crew of six people live and work at ISS while traveling at a speed of five miles per second, orbiting Earth about every 90 minutes. In 24 hours, the space station makes 16 orbits of Earth, traveling through 16 sunrises and sunsets.